17 Dec 2004

Fiji military unaffected by ministerial change

9:05 am on 17 December 2004

Fiji's military says it won't be affected by the sacking of the minister responsible for the armed forces, Joketani Cokanasiga.

The prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, demoted Mr Cokanasiga to the back benches yesterday.

The former transport minister, Joe Vosanibola, has become minister for home affairs with responsibility for the military.

Mr Qarase cited the long-standing standoff between his government and the military, as the reason.

The military says it had enjoyed a good relationship with Mr Cokanasiga and looks forward to working with its new minister.

But its spokesman, Captain Neumi Leweni, says any ministerial change WON'T affect the military's execution of its role, or its stance in the current political impasse.

Captain Leweni says the military will continue to support the police in the maintenance of law and order, and will continue to monitor the process of good governance, which he says should always prevail.

Earlier this week, the military commander, Commodore Bainimarama said it was of the utmost importance, that the military was seen to be doing what was morally right.